Here is some more information from CTSP about co-management guidelines for protected areas to make it easier to add Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) in Timor-Leste.
Smoothing the Way for More MPAs / Hadi’a dalan diak liu ba Aumenta MPA
Co-management guidelines for protected areas make it easier to add MPA s in Timor-Leste / Manuál jestaun Konjunta ba área protejida sira hodi fasil atu aumenta tan MPA iha Timor-Leste. A successful project that generates a model for replication ensures its impact long after the original project is over.
With support from USAID’s Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP), Conservation International and Rai Consultadoria have created a new how-to manual on community and government cooperation in establishing co-managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Called “Guidelines to Co-Management,” the manual describes a clear procedure for applying the lessons learned in the development of three MPAs in Nino Konis Santana National Park (NKS). The manual includes step-by-step principles for working with the community, strengthening the community-government relationships, establishing community-based management system which are aligned with customary practices (tara bandu), and integrating resource management systems into laws.
While drawing on the marine and coastal experiences of the CTSP project it can equally be apply to terrestrial environments, and is intended as a resource for use by Timorese government and community, as well as international audiences in the countries involved in the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security.
The government is eager to build off the success of MPAs in NKS, and the communities involved are proud to be at the forefront of conservation and resource management in their country. “What government and CTSP have achieved is far from perfect, but it works,” said Augusto Fernandes, the national director of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “It is something the Department of Fisheries has helped come up with, it is our model. We would like to replicate this approach in other priority geographies.”
His boss, Secretary of State Rafael Gonçalves, echoed this sentiment: “We need to collaborate with all shareholders to work together to enlarge our vision of expanding marine protection not just in the park but in all districts.”
DNPA officials, the NKS park manager, community leaders and local fishermen in MPA areas unanimously agree that the key to the success of this model is community engagement right from the start of the planning process, all the way through to involvement in MPA operations.
A gradual process of education, trust building, discussions and careful steps in three communities in the park led to the demarcation of MPAs and incorporation of zoning and management plans into local government regulations. The national government checked these plans for conformity to national law to ensure they are enforceable. An issue of enforcement and monitoring is now being address in ongoing talks between the interested parties.
The result is MPAs that are well plan, well managed and well enforced.
Although the kinks are still being workout in the Timor-Leste MPA experiment, the excitement and common purpose of all the players is palpable. CTSP’s support for the creation of three new MPAs has inspired other communities and government to work for more protected areas around the country. The new manual will make it easier for this to happen.
SOURCE: USAID Timor-Leste on Facebook